Real Men of Idiocy
Today I stumbled upon a press release indicating that Bud Light's Real Men of Genius campaign had won the "world's most prestigious advertising award" at the Cannes Lion Ad Festival. I must point out that handing out an award in Cannes does not immediately grant it the cachet of that city's film festival. Just ask the Corvette Hall of Fame which is NEAR Cooperstown, New York.
Now, I've been amused by several entries in what was a cleverly conceived radio campaign. But they've clearly gotten weaker, occasionally offensive (for example, one mocking carb counters), and one that has truly angered me: humiliating those who would apply sunscreen with a very high SPF. (mp3 available via KsiToyko)
The ad's "joke" is based on a dangerous misconception--that SPF equals the number of hours you can stay in the sun. It doesn't. The truth is, SPF is very difficult to explain. The guideline used to be, take the amount of time it would normally take you to burn, and multiply it by the SPF, which showed how long you could stay out with that sunscreen applied. But this isn't really accurate, and has encouraged people to stay in the sun longer if they are using a higher SPF. This was not the FDA's goal. Closer to the truth is that the greater the SPF, the higher the percentage of UVB rays that are blocked.
I'm not a dermatologist or an FDA scientist. This is all information available to anyone with an Internet connection. Clearly the ad copywriter could have done a little homework. But the whole concept should have been shot down. If one person buys a lower-SPF sunscreen because of this ad, then shame on you, Anheuser-Busch.
This summer, liberally and regularly apply a high-SPF sunscreen, wear a hat, shirt, and sunglasses, and drink a different brand of beer.
Posted by Jack Silbert on 06/29/2005 | Permalink
Real men can handle stage IV malignant melanoma! Only wussy "girly men" cower at the thought of lymphatic metastasis.
And I don't know about all of you, but whenever I see a man walk by covered with large, irregular, black moles, I think "Wow, he's a true American hero!"
Then I think, "A Bud Light sounds really good right now!"
Posted by: frippy | Jun 30, 2005 12:24:33 AM
You are right, these commercials over time have gotten both weaker and even offensive. When I heard one of the first, the one for the taco salad, I thought, hmm, interesting, somewhat amusing. But over time, I think they have just gone for lower common denominator. Whatever edge they had, they lost it. How they won an award is beyond me to be honest.
Posted by: Itinerant Librarian | Jun 30, 2005 11:41:16 AM
Are you kidding me?
You're *offended* by the SPF commercial? OFFENDED? Maybe it's medically inaccurate, but anybody who gets their medical advice from a BEER COMMERCIAL deserves to get fried to a crisp.
And people say us liberals are humorless...pshaw.
Posted by: Max Roswell | Jul 1, 2005 2:11:15 PM
"Angered" was the word i used. A lot of people accept any information that is presented factually as absolute fact. So a casually tossed-off "fact" in a commercial that could lead to serious after-effects...yeah, that angers me. It probably angers me more from a humor standpoint: The joke has a faulty premise.
Posted by: Jack Silbert | Jul 1, 2005 4:40:58 PM
Well, the larger premise of the ad is that some people apply sunscreen of a higher SPF than they need. What do you mean by "high-SPF sunscreen"? You know the CDC recommends 15 or above, right?
Posted by: Michael S. | Jul 2, 2005 7:36:07 AM
If you're the sort who needs their jokes fact-checked before you laugh, then yeah, I can see how the ad would bother you.
But "blocking out rays from other suns," and "SPF 30? Might as well be using cooking oil..." are funny by any reasonable standard, I gotta tell you.
Posted by: Max Roswell | Jul 2, 2005 9:08:43 AM
Michael: The commercial revolves around "80 SPF," which actually exists outside the U.S. The FDA would rather rate anything above 30 as "30+" as it is difficult to substantiate additional protection above that level. Is SPF 15 "enough," blocking some 93% of UVB rays? Probably. But we have to also consider dangerous UVA rays, which most suncreens provide very limited protection against. All I'm saying is that it's complicated, and pushing people toward less protection is irresponsible (just as teasing carb counters is self-serving for a beer company). I look forward to Real Men of Genius: Mr. Light Beer Inventor, who added water to beer and convinced the public to buy it.
Posted by: Jack Silbert | Jul 2, 2005 11:35:26 AM
Wow! Now I've heard it all. I can't believe people are actually 'offended' and 'angered' Come on now, look at what Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno say on a DAILY basis. People get over it. Those Budlight commercials are a work of genius. you should be kicking yourself cause you didn't think of them. I can't believe the guy who posted this site actually did the 'scientific' break down. what a nerd, get a life. Leave Bud Light alone, they're brilliant and entertaining.
Posted by: Lisa | Jul 6, 2005 1:50:30 AM
DUDE its a flipping bud light commercial calm down i agree w/ the guy below if ur offended by thiis and ur getting ur medical advice from a BEER commercial u deserve to extra crispy
Posted by: J | Jul 22, 2005 11:26:15 AM
wow. this guy made me laugh almost as much as the commerical. I mean, if americans believed every thing that was said in commercials, we'd be in a lot of trouble. Get over it. Do something useful with your time and energy, like supporting cancer research.
Posted by: Tania | Aug 11, 2005 4:21:10 PM